A fine antique 19th century French sentimental hair artwork mourning memento or remembrance piece. Sentimental miniatures, like sentimental jewelry, reached a height of popularity in the late Georgian era / Napoleonic era. Entirely crafted from hair in shades of brunette and blonde. Worked to include a pansy flower, a symbol for remembrance, and a cross over a brunette curl. Below is the name Marguerite. The motif is raised, giving a 3D effect, and stunning in its composition and craftsmanship. Housed under convex glass and encased in a Napoleon III era ebonized wooden frame with brass trim. The back bears the label for the specialty shop who crafted the artwork, labeled as Vallée, Dessinateur en cheveux , located at 36 rue Bazan, Le Havre. In overall good antique condition having general wear commensurate with age. Frame measuring 6 5/8"x 5 5/8".
The tradition of keeping locks of a loved one’s hair might seem a bit of a macabre curiosité, but this novelty was actually quite popular and precious at a time when photography was costly. Specialized shops devoted to this art medium throughout Europe, and France, grand fabriques d’ouvrages en cheveux where artistes-dessinateurs spent countless hours expertly working hair commissioned into flowers, curls, ribbons, as is the case here. Others showcase hair worked into sceneries to memorialize, or express devotion and love. Artists were also quite skilled in taking a lock of hair to be woven as jewelry adornments, perhaps the most popular form of Victorian mourning jewelry.
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